President Donald Trump has banned employees of the EPA from “providing social media updates or speaking with reporters,” according to The Associated Press on Twitter. Trump has also frozen all new EPA contracts and grants.
BREAKING: Trump bans EPA employees from providing updates on social media or to reporters, bars awarding new contracts or grants.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 24, 2017
This move comes the day after the new president placed a freeze on all new federal government hires, except in the military. News of the gag order comes on the same day Trump signed an executive order officially restarting the Dakota Access and Keystone oil pipeline projects.
A report from the Huffington Post, going off of anonymous tips and an internal memo obtained by the news organization, details some of the parameters of the new restrictions that have been placed on the EPA.
- No press releases will be going out to external audiences.
- No social media will be going out. A Digital Strategist will be coming on board to oversee social media. Existing, individually controlled, social media accounts may become more centrally controlled.
- No blog messages.
- No new content can be placed on any website. Only do clean up where essential.
This information was provided to the Huffington Post by an employee of the EPA who, notably, spoke anonymously due to fear of retaliation.
Making the whole thing even worse is that it’s not just the EPA. Scientists working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have also been effectively banned from speaking with the public.
BuzzFeed News obtained a copy of an internal email distributed to scientists working at the Agriculture Research Service, also known as the ARS, which functions as the research arm of the USDA.
That email read, in part:
‘Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.’
Trump’s moves in effectively clamping down with a fascist iron fist on two agencies that are key players in the fight to keep America’s environment and food supply safe reveals something simple, and yet profound, about the new presidential administration.
President Donald Trump simply does not hold in very high esteem at all the health, safety, and overall well being of those who he has just officially assumed leadership of. That’s not a conjecture. That is, rather, a simple observation of the fact that Trump is undercutting some of the key entities responsible for safeguarding Americans’ health, safety, and overall well being.
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